At the beginning of October, 2022, the team over at YouTube channel Rich’s Rebuilds was in the middle of a Harley-Davidson Electra Glide electrification project. When we last checked in with them, they’d gotten all four of their chosen battery packs installed, as well as installed the motor, configured the steel trellis frame they were building to hold the batteries in place, and even got the wheels starting to spin.
Originally, they’d planned to make this electric conversion a chain-driven machine, but then a commenter suggested (as commenters do) that a belt drive would be super easy and quick to do, as well as super inexpensive. While it turned out to be none of those things, Rich’s Rebuilds still made a belt drive solution work anyway—and as you’ll see in this test ride video, it did end up working out for the best.
Like any good project, the team took turns cautiously doing shakedown runs at first, basically just to the corner and back to make sure everything was in good working order. Once they were satisfied that it was in reasonably good working order, it was time to put the remaining bodywork back on—including the big batwing fairing. (That actually makes it even funnier that Rich’s Rebuilds compared the nearly silent running sound as feeling like a bat while racing along the road at speed.)
Once the lights and all the bodywork was back on, Rich was ready to throw a helmet on and go for a longer test ride. How did it go? Overall, Rich reported that the bike felt really good and smooth. Since the dashboard had a bunch of binnacles for gauges they no longer needed, the team installed four separate battery monitor gauges in four of those spaces: one for each of the four batteries. That way, it would be easy to see if any of the batteries was specifically having a problem, which is probably smart. (None of them did on this ride, but it’s still a solid monitoring plan.)
At one point, while riding past a townhome development, a lady apparently hit Rich in his right leg, causing both him and the bike to have a minor tip-over. Her excuse was reportedly “I didn’t hear you!” according to Rich—but he was in front of her when she hit him, so she somehow didn’t see him, either. (Maybe it was the lack of chrome?)
In any case, Rich was fine, and the bike and his right shoe had some minor scuffs. As most riders can probably attest, sometimes it doesn’t seem to matter what your bike sounds like or what you’re wearing, because distracted drivers are going to drive distractedly and not realize you’re there, regardless. (Drivers, please don’t do this. Please pay attention. Please.)
After losing all the extraneous bits that this project Electra Glide no longer needed because of its electric conversion—and then gaining all the electric bits—the total weight of the bike was approximately 60 pounds lighter than how it started. The ride feels like a big, rolling couch, and it’s quiet enough to have a conversation with other people on the road if you want. They’re pretty pleased with how it turned out. Will they do any dyno runs and show us power figures in the near future? Although this seemed like it might be the final video in the project series, here’s hoping.